What is it with FRS and colours?

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10/10 for changing the colurs on the CAT and DAX icons, but 1/10 for making them still very similar? It is as if the same person who chose the colours for those icons was the same person who decided on the colours that makes the power and SWR scales more difficlt to read the lower the reading, LOL.
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DrTeeth

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  • okay

Posted 4 years ago

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Jim Gilliam

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When Flex finishes all the important stuff, perhaps, like PowerSDR, they will offer a palette of colors for satisfy the more discriminating hams.


(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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But why chose the colours that they do from the start? It is as if somebody is given the brief to chose the most UN-suitable colours and then somebody signs off on them.

People ask for different colours to differentiate the CAT and DAX icons and two different shades of the same colour  are chosen! You could not make this up.
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Phil m0vse

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They look completely different to me, DAX is a light almost Baby Blue whereas CAT is Brandeis Blue..... :)
(Edited)
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W7NGA

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I like the colors .. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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"You can't please all of the people all of the time..."
(Edited)
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Phil m0vse

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I must be easily pleased then? I am in a good mood though having just ordered a 6500 to replace my 6300!!!
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DrTeeth

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You can really go off some people Phil<vbg>. Seriously though, enjoy the new radio.
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NX6D Dave

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About 1 in 10 men have some level of color blindness. Choosing from a palette of similar pastels is not clever. The most important of the icons is the least colorful and has the lowest contrast. I'm no artist, but this could be quite a bit better.
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Ken - NM9P

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I am glad for the difference in color.  it helps and is a step in the right direction.

But if I were asked...I would suggest making them "doubly different."  i.e use three VERY distinct colors - blue, yellow, green or grey, yellow, blue - AND make the icons very distinct - a large 'S' for SSDR, a large 'C' for SmartCAT, and a large 'D' for DAX so that they can be easily identified on a small screen when working remote with an ipad or iphone or other small screened device.  It isn't a major problem with a large 24+" monitor, but it is hard to detect on the iphone running Parallels Access.  it should only take a quick glance to tell the difference between them.

Ken - NM9P
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The colors are okay, but as Ken NM9P reflect show less well on mobile devices.

There are a lot of resources on making content more readable, one I use are the articles and reports at:

Nielsen Norman Group

Some examples:

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/text-over-images/

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/low-contrast/

To Quote the second link:

Strategies for Increasing or Decreasing Prominence Without Harming Usability

If you’re considering low-contrast text, you probably want to reduce the salience of an element, or increase the prominence of another. But there are other, more usable ways to do this.

  • Reduce information density. Some designs assume that reducing text contrast will make a dense page look less cluttered. Unfortunately, all it does is decrease legibility and increase cognitive strain.  Instead, find ways to remove what isn’t essential, or explore alternatives to make the information display less condensed. (For instance, on mobile, but not only, you can defer secondary content to secondary pages.
  • Adjust font size. When users scan text on a webpage (they rarely read, though sometimes they do), larger text gets read first. It’s fine to make some text bigger and other text smaller, as long as you don’t go too small to where it becomes illegible. Use at least 8pt font.
  • Check for accessibility-compliant color combinations. Many free tools will check if color combinations have sufficient contrast. Be sure to check those combinations paired with your font size, as some combinations become compliant when the font is large enough.
  • Reposition less important elements. If you find that high-contrast text is distracting, try varying the placement of the text on the screen. Often, changing the location of an element, or adding more padding around it, is enough to change its prominence on the page.
  • Consider accordions. In some cases, expandable sections can reduce clutter by only showing details when a users expresses interest through a click or a tap. Just be careful, because accordions don’t work well for information that needs to be processed sequentially.


If your prefer more technical measures there are resources like:

http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-contrast.html

But in my personal case I kind of zone out when the discussion gets to "relative luminesce" even though it is important.

FRS obviously has some very good folk executing what they do, so my suggestion is more to consider weak eyesight, the spectrum issues of colorblindness, low light, small device and other suboptimal conditions.

I'd be really pleased if Pallets were available, including a preset for all the FRS programs that meet Military Style Field Deployable color/contrast options.

73

Steve K9ZW

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DrTeeth

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@ Dave, Ken and Steve

It makes one wonder why they did not go the whole hog...it's not as if it would have been more difficult or more costly (in time or resources) than the current option.
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P

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I think their hands were pretty full getting the major stuff done on an excellent release.  I am not going to have a heart attack over this one...

While Icon variations can be frustrating or even essential for some, it is really only cosmetic for others. 

I do like the idea of user-definable color pallets...for everything!  Ultimately, it would be very nice to be able to customize my entire display to fit my own needs/preferences.  Yet I would certainly wait until they get the important functional things finished.  .... When I buy a new car, the color choice is one of the last considerations I process.  And there are usually several options that are acceptable, once I get the rest of my desired performance and options feature set settled.  ( I have even taken a small discount because they had a car with all of my preferred options but the color was my third choice.) 

BTW...is there a program that allows a person to custom edit icons for Windows? 
I would love to try some of my own designs and see if my ideas are as good as I think they are...<grin>

Ken - NM9P
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Winston VK7WH

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I agree with Guy regarding the SWR meter, as it is VERY difficult to read. A much higher contrast and/or luminance is needed between the meter reading and the meter scale and background.

Care needs to be taken when using colours to ensure that two low luminance or two high luminance colours are not used together, particularly in areas of fine detail such as the meters. As an example you should never use yellow writing over a white background or red writing over a black background.

I do understand, Tim, that you can never please everyone, but a change to the meter colours is needed. I don't mind what the colours are as long as I can read the meters, as It is almost impossible to read them with the current colours,

Thanks to all the Flex team for version 1.6. Working well here

73 de Winston VK7WH
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Ken
Lucky you are not a Female -- when the women in my family choose cars..their FIRST Consideration is the Color and then the car...

@Guy
I agree--- if they were going to change the colors then the color choice for the icons could be much more distinctive...

@Ken & Guy... Much more important is the ability to choose color palates for SmartSDR.. because of my ever increasing restrictive vision with age it is almost impossible for me to read that red on black analog meters.which are for all intents and purposes invisible to me... I have to believe that a number of other have the same issue... fortunately I have visible digital meters on DDUTIL and a couple of other devices...  But choosing color palettes.. is #2 on my list of wants.. after Spots on the Display...
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Phil m0vse

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I think that long term, a 'skin' based approach to SSDR would be ideal. I realise that this isn't going to be a priority but having multiple skins with different colour schemes and even screen layouts would solve many of these display issues. There could also be large font/high contrast versions for the visually impaired.
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Jim Gilliam

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My feeling is Flex has pretty much arrived when they only bitches are those of décor!
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Winston VK7WH

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Come on Jim, we are only asking to have meters we can actually read. I really don't think that is bitching.
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Jim Gilliam

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You are absolutely correct but I still think it's funny.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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SWR colors and scale readability.  

This idea / request has been on the list for about 2 years and is in the top 10.   It is "under consideration" with 32 votes so far. 

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/idea_to_improve_the_swr_and_power_scale_readability

So maybe one day....They could be so much easier to read and include DIGITAL values as well..




Using same idea and colors for SWR -- here are some options for the digital readout. 



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.17.74
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.17.156
Win10
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John AK4Z

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I like this Al's suggestion. The power and SWR readout are difficult for me to read. I am fine with the colors but the current implementation appears very faded and needs more contrast. It's difficult to see the meters on a laptop with lots of ambient light.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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A lot of us have been begging for color changers for a very long time now

Unfortunately programmers tend to be very young and do not understand the difficulty that older customers have saying low contrast

fortunately SmartSDR iOS has implemented alternative Color shemrd that are quite visible for almost like mine
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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If they add high contrast colors, I hope they have an option to keep the current color scheme. I actually don't mind it.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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And I understand they have a new staff member who will look at just these things,,lets see.
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Winston VK7WH

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Changing the colours is only part of the solution. The correct luminance of the foreground and the back ground colours is just as important as the colours themselves. One should always use a high luminance colour over a low luminance background and visa versa. It is very difficult to be able to see a low luminance colour (such as red) over a low luminance background, (such as black!) particularly when very small fonts are used, as is the case with SSDR.

Dont get me wrong, I love the uncluttered look of SSDR, however red over black is very difficult to read, and even more so when using a small screen such as an iPad.

Please consider changing the current meter colours, along the lines suggested by Al. I don't mind what colours are used, I just want to be able to actually read what my SWR actually is.

Many thanks

Winston.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Winston. Alternate Colors are available in SmartSDR for iOS which are quite readable.
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Winston VK7WH

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Thanks Howard, I do have SmartSDR for iOS but as my 6700 is remotely located I am unable to use Marcus's excellent client software until I have my VPN setup. Unless, of course Marcus will be upgrading his software to connect over WAN when version 2.x is released?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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When V2.0 is released WAN will work for smartsdr for iOS. It was demoed at Dayton without VPN
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Winston VK7WH

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Thanks Howard, that's great news. I missed (?) Dayton/Xenia this year.

Off topic, did you get fed at the Flex Banquet this year? Only joking
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Actually missed Dayton 2017 because we were heading back to France
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I was there and at the Thursday banquet. It was pretty lively. 
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Brian Bedoe WD9HSY

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Thursday night I was trying to work Scott over on a User Assigned Color Pallet, I was trying!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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As usual AL gets it right.. add digital numbers so that visually challenged people like me can actually see it..  I personally cannot read that red on black scale..
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DrTeeth

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I have to say that Al gets it right so often, FRS should make him an offer!
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Thanks for the feedback Guy and Howard.  Usually I'm just saying the same things as others, I just like to use mockups to illustrate the ideas.  Many of the suggestions are GUI / usability / visibility improvements.  

I used to do that same thing at work because most of our developers were under 40 with great eyesight.  And most of our customers were older and wanted bigger fonts, better colors for contrast, and easy to use interfaces.   Some users like analog displays, others like digital so combining them was the best solution.   Mockups just made it easier to get the point across. 

Maybe some of those reasons apply here too....(hi hi)

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................... V 1.6.17.74
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V 1.6.17.156
Win10

 
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Ken - NM9P

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I have a friend/colleague who is so colorblind that he cannot tell whether a traffic light is red or green. He has to go by position. Except a few communities have very old-fashioned traffic lights that are upside-down from the usual standard. Then it gets scary....
(Edited)
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Gary L. Robinson

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First time I went to Washington D.C. and I saw horizontal traffic lights on the side of street I pulled over and watched the intersection for a while to see if GO (I refuse to say green since for me it does not exist) was on the left OR on the right hihi  I hope IF FRS does eventually change a lot of colors and visual components that they remember that there are MANY color impaired hams that don't key into color at all.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
We hear you loud and clear.  We know that there are people that have a difficult time seeing the SmartSDR console due to the current color scheme and there is an enhancement request in our database to create high contrast color schemes that will benefit those who are color blind.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Tim W4TME - if possible if that request could be slightly expanded to include color scheme options for high ambient light (outside in bright sun, maybe even wearing sunglasses) and in low light (in the field in a tent) conditions, it would be greatly appreciated.

These are somewhat different than color selections made to aid the color blind, or those made to aid the vision impaired. 

There is a lot of moving parts, not only colors but font selection (and perhaps minimum front size for some uses) that creating is part, as being able to save and switch between visual configurations would be super useful.

Something like a changeable Skins/Profile-for-visuals would be awesome.

Thank you and 73

Steve K9ZW 

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We will consider your request for addressing high/low ambient light conditions
(Edited)